The new year has started and the first festival of the year Lohri is all around the corner. Lohri signifies the start of the harvest season and is celebrated with great fanfare all over India. Punjab and a few other Northern Indian states are the main locations for witnessing Lohri celebrations’ immense passion and spectacular festivity.
Beginning with a sacred and holy bonfire, Lohri celebrations signify the end of the winter solstice and the beginning of the holidays. It begins the longer, warmer summer days and signals the end of the long, cold winter nights. Additionally, it signifies the start of Sun’s Northway voyage.
The Hindu calendar has Lohri celebrations in the month of Paush; on the Gregorian calendar, it is observed on January 13 of each year. One day before Makar Sankranti, this day is commemorated. It happens on a day comparable to those observed in Tamil Nadu and Assam regions for “Pongal” and “Bhogali Bihu,” respectively.
How Lohri is Celebrated?
The lighting of the sacred fire, which is regarded as an extremely holy and divine ritual signifying the presence and blessings of Lord Agni, is a prominent feature of the celebrations of the divine festival of Lohri. Huge crowds assemble around the sacred bonfire, where they worship, offer prayers, and toss holy foods into the flames, such as popcorn, sesame seeds, peanuts, and jaggery.
The celebrations are made even more captivating and joyous by the enticing bhangra dance and the singing of devotional songs. Individuals emerge wearing traditional Lohri attire adorned with striking mirror work and silk and gold thread Punjabi embroidery. People savor traditional Lohri cuisine, which is typically vegetarian only, during the royal feast.
The festival of Lohri has a significant social significance in addition to any particular religious significance. It is a day on which all community members are imbued with a sense of love and social belonging. On this day, people are freed from their regular tasks and get to spend happy moments with their loved ones. Everybody joins the social gathering on this specific day, and the social divide is closed. People go to each other’s homes to say hello and celebrate life together.
In addition, the festival has particular meaning about fertility and the harvest. India is renowned for being an agricultural country, and Punjab is among the most profitable states in terms of food grain production, so harvesting and the Lohri festival are very important. Thus, the festival of Lohri represents harvesting, fertility, crop ripening, culture, legacy, and a feeling of community.
This festival has been celebrated since ancient times. The origin of the Lohri festival is the subject of several legends and stories, the most well-known and popular of which is the Lohri legend of Dulla Bhatti.
During the reign of Mughal King Akbar, Dulla Bhatti gained immense fame among the impoverished. He gained notoriety for pillaging wealthy individuals and communities and equitably allocating the looted goods to the impoverished and in need. His fame grew greatly as a result of all his actions. Subsequently, Dulla Bhatti began raising a girl as if she were his own after saving her from kidnappers. Thus, the Lohri festival is celebrated in honor of Dulla Bhatti.
One must travel to the Punjabi region during the period of this extraordinary celebration to fully experience the fervor of the Lohri festival.